July 15, 2021
Philadelphia residents can exchange handguns and semi-automatic firearms for $100 ShopRite gift cards as part of a gun buyback program being held by City Council.
The gun buyback will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in two locations — Mt. Enon Baptist Church, located 500 Snyder Ave., and Upper Room Baptist Church, located at 7236 Ogontz Ave. No questions will be asked about the weapons.
The event is the fifth in a series of buybacks hosted this year. So far, nearly 500 firearms have been handed in.
"Any gun that we get off the streets or out of someone's home is one gun that can never be used to harm another child or any other person," Councilmember Mark Squilla said Wednesday.
The city's gun violence problem has shown no signs of abating.
As of Wednesday, there have been 298 shooting-related deaths in the city — up 34% from the same time last year. More than 100 of the shooting victims, not all of them fatal, have been under 18 years old — a 40% increase from last year.
Additionally, two 10-year-old children have died of fatal gun accidents in recent weeks. Earlier this month, 10-year-old Shanyiah Gaines-Miles found a gun in her Kingsessing home and accidentally shot and killed herself.
"She thought it was a toy gun," Warren Miles, Shanyiah's father, told the Philadelphia Tribune. "There was a loaded gun in the house. Nobody knew about it."
Miles attended a press briefing Wednesday alongside councilmembers and other community leaders.
"Gun buybacks are one tool in a deeper toolkit of strategies which the city is deploying to reduce and prevent this totally unacceptable level of gun violence in our communities," Council President Darrell L. Clarke said.
The city's budget for fiscal year 2021 includes $155 billion for gun violence prevention programs, including $68 million in new spending on anti-violence measures.
City council is hosting the gun buyback program in partnership with the Father's Day Rally Committee, the Philadelphia Police Department and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.